18 Mar, 2019 - US-China trade row is hammering air cargo growth

US and China trade tensions will hammer air cargo this year, the International Air Transport Association warns and IATA slashed its air cargo growth forecast for this year.

According to AFP, the global body said air cargo volumes are likely to rise by two per cent this year, halving its earlier projection of 3.7 per cent that it released in December.

Air freight traffic contracted 1.8 per cent in January, IATA director general and chief executive Alexandre de Juniac pointed out to a conference in Singapore.

"We are facing a problem with world trade. Cross-border trade is weakening very sharply and that's the thing that's damaging our business in the cargo world," IATA chief economist Brian Pearce said.

The group said uncertainty over Brexit and general trade protectionism was also hitting air cargo growth.

US and Chinese officials have said they are making progress towards a resolution of their hard-hitting trade dispute but conflicting messages out of Washington and Beijing mean it is still not clear when a deal may finally be sealed.

11 Mar, 2019 - UK truckers may get temporary permit-free access to EU in a no-deal Brexit

UK hauliers have been thrown a lifeline thanks to a yet-to-be passed provisional agreement between the European Parliament and member states that would allow UK truckers to haul cargo without European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permits over a nine-month period in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The likely concession follows two years of intense lobbying by the UK Freight Transport Association (FTA) which welcomed the decision, London's Air Cargo News reported.

However, the FTA cautioned that the concession still leaves UK hauliers "with much to consider".

FTA's European policy manager Sarah Laouadi said: "The lack of ECMT permits under a no-deal Brexit would severely limit market access for thousands of UK businesses and is something we have worked tirelessly to address on behalf of our members.

She said the announcement will ease concerns about the "future of their businesses but is far from offering frictionless operating conditions and should still be viewed in light of the threat posed to the UK's trading relationships by a no-deal departure from the EU."

Ms Laouadi added: "The offer is only valid for nine months from Brexit date, it could be revoked unilaterally by the EU without any appeal mechanism and would not provide the same levels of access as UK hauliers currently enjoy.

"Shippers have come to rely on fully flexible logistics operators, who can move goods as and when necessary, but this would not be possible under the contingency approved today.

"For instance, cabotage rights in the EU would be limited significantly and progressively reduced during the nine-month period under review, with no cabotage rights at all in the final two months of the contingency period.

"This would have a significant impact on those businesses trading in Europe as they return to the UK."

04 Mar, 2019 - US bans cargo shipments of lithium ion batteries with passengers

THE US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Department of Transportation (DoT) has banned the transport of lithium ion cells and batteries in the cargo bellyhold of passenger aircraft. The government also introduced a 30 per cent charge limit on lithium ion batteries shipped as air cargo that have a non-negligible chance of exploding.

The new rule change was mandated by the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for all member countries in 2016, and the updated regulations serve to codify that directive into US aviation rules, New York's Gizmodo Media reported.

But the new rule doesn't affect passenger's ability to carry lithium ion devices on flights since they are one of the most common battery types used in consumer electronics.

26 Feb, 2019 - Beijing denies Shanghai's 3rd airport will be in Nantong, Jiangsu province

CHINA's transport authorities have denied that the location of the proposed third airport in Shanghai has been confirmed, after local media reported that Nantong, a city in neighbouring Jiangsu province, had been selected.

The report from the Shanghai Securities News said that Nantong, which is located 75 miles from Shanghai and already houses one commercial airport, was the winner from a number of candidates, including Kunshan, also in Jiangsu, Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, and Shanghai's Chongming district.

However, the Civil Aviation Administration of China denied these claims and said the contest for the new location was still running.

Shanghai's two existing airports, Pudong and Hongqiao, processed 112 million passengers in 2017, placing Shanghai among the top five most popular destinations worldwide by air traffic. Caixin reports this figure is expected to almost triple by 2040.

18 Feb, 2019 - Hapag-Lloyd comes up with new steel-floor boxes able to carry heavier weight

GERMANY's Hapag-Lloyd has created a 20-foot, steel-floor container that can carry cargo with a greater weight than cargo of equivalent dimensions can fit in a standard wooden container.

According to the company's senior manager for special cargo David Piel, the steel-floor container can load 7.6 tonnes per metre (T/M) compared to 4.6 T/M that can be loaded into a wooden floor container of equal size, he said.

"The difference is even greater with the 40-foot box," Mr Piel was quoted as saying in a report by American Shipper. "While the wooden floor can withstand a load of three T/M, the steel floor can withstand twice as much." Furthermore, the steel floor container's tare weight is 150 kilogrammes lighter than the conventional boxes.

There are up to 66 lashing rings in a 20-foot steel floor container and up to 100 lashing eyes - on the floor and ceiling longitudinal rails and the corner posts - on the 40-foot containers.

All lashing rings in steel floor containers must be rated with 2,000 kilogramme pull load, which is double the 1,000 kilogrammes for rings on the floor and quadruple the 500 kilogrammes per lashing on the upper rails on wooden floor containers, he said.

The steel floor also prevents residue from previous loadings, he said, and the slightly wavy floor shape keeps cargo from sitting in any moisture if liquids have escaped or condensation has formed.

The container, which is made entirely of steel, is 100 per cent recyclable and its stability can be guaranteed over its entire service life, Mr Piel said.

"What's more, the floor wears away much more slowly, which means that it needs to be repaired less often and that doing so requires less effort," he said. "This, in turn, means that fewer resources are used and that less effort is needed to clean it."

11 Feb, 2019 - US trade delegation in Beijing for third round of crucial talks

SEVERAL senior US officials are in Beijing to re-engage with Chinese officials in hopes of resolving Trump administration concerns regarding several of China's trade practices, the White House announced.

Talks start today at the deputy level, led by Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing for principal-level meetings on Thursday and Friday.

Other US delegation members include USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud, Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass, Agriculture Department Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Gilbert Kaplan and National Economic Council Deputy Director Clete Willems, among several others.

Section 301 tariffs across US$200 billion worth of goods from China in 2017 import value will rise from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on March 2 if the US and China can't strike a deal by then to ease trade tensions, reports American Shipper.

The US is seeking changes to several Chinese commercial practices, including forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft and cyber-theft of US commercial property.

28 Jan, 2019 - Russia's quarterly TransContainer up 16.4pc to 1.22 million TEU

RUSSIA's TransContainer says its positive fourth quarter and full-year 2018 operating results were mainly driven by the ongoing growth of Russia's container shipping sector.

TransContainer, with 43 per cent of the intermodal market, has the biggest flatcar fleet and rail-side container terminal throughput.

Russia's container volumes grew in the fourth quarter by 16.4 per cent year on year to 1.224 million TEU, mainly driven by a 24.3 per cent year-on-year increase in international volumes, while domestic transportation rose seven per cent in the reporting quarter and 5.1 per cent in 2018, reported Saint Petersburg's PortNews.

In 2018 the nation's containerised rail freight market expanded by 14.4 per cent to 4.44 million TEU. The primary contributors were transshipments and import cargo which grew by 35 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively.

In the fourth quarter container volumes rose by 8.9 per cent year on year to 501,000 TEU due to 20.3 per cent growth in international volumes, with import and transit segments soaring by 23.4 per cent and 47.1 per cent, respectively.

Last quarter domestic volumes fell due to a fleet reallocation in favour of fast-growing international routes amid a shortage of flatcars, as well as the optimisation of empty runs.

The company's transported in Russia 419,000 TEU in the fourth quarter, up 13.8 per cent. For 2018 container volumes rose by 6.1 per cent to 1.886 million TEU owing to a 14.3 per cent increase in demand for international transportation.

In 2018 container transportation volumes in Russia amounted to 1.544 million TEU, up 8.4 per cent on the back of the optimisation of the empty runs.

In the fourth quarter, the company's throughput in the Russian rail container terminal network decreased by 0.7 per cent to 331,000 TEU, compared to 333,000 TEU for the same period of 2017. In 2018 the company's container terminal throughput declined 1.1 per cent to 1.279 million TEU, down from 1.294 million TEU for 2017.

The company's attributed its lower-than-market container terminal throughput to fast-growing transit volumes, ongoing cargo growth sent to and from the producers' own freight yards. A number of terminals in Moscow were also closed in accordance with the Moscow government's decision.

TransContainer owns and leases 25,903 flatcars, 67,852 ISO containers; and owns a network of rail-side container terminals located at 40 railway stations across Russia.

21 Jan, 2019 - Members of Ocean Alliance extend partnership until 2027

FRENCH shipping giant CMA CGM has announced the extension of the Ocean Alliance cooperation with its partners Cosco Shipping, Evergreen and OOCL until 2027.

Launched in 2017 for an initial period of five years with an option for a five-year renewal, Ocean Alliance is the world's largest operational agreement between shipping companies.

The confirmation of the 10-year duration of this partnership only two years after its launch reflects the trust and high-quality working relationship established between CMA CGM and its partners within Ocean Alliance, said the company in a statement.

The recent signing of the partnership extension took place in Hainan, China, attended by chairman and CEO of CMA CGM Group, Rodolphe Saade, and executives of the three other carriers.

Meanwhile, CMA CGM also announced that it's uniting two of its intra-European multimodal transport firms, Containerships and MacAndrews, under the Containership brand as of April 1.

By joining the forces of the two firms, the CMA CGM Group says it will unlock synergies and develop an Intra-European leading brand that combines unique maritime and inland solutions.

Acquired by the CMA CGM Group in 2018, Containerships is a specialist in intra-Europe for logistics services related to containerised cargo. Containerships offers logistics solutions for all modes of transportation (ships, trucks, trains and barges) and is present in the Baltic markets, Russia, Northern Europe, North Africa and Turkey.

MacAndrews, which joined the CMA CGM Group in 2002 and which merged with OPDR in 2018, also offers a complete range of rail, road and maritime transport services and is a specialist of container transport on Intra-European routes. It mainly connects North and Central Europe with the Iberian Peninsula, the Canary Islands and Morocco, reports The Maritime Executive, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

14 Jan, 2019 - HMM starts calling at PSA Bharat Mumbai box terminal on CIX service

HYUNDAI Merchant Marine (HMM) has added to its China India Express (CIX) service a call at PSA's Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals (BMCT) with the arrival of the 8,562-TEU M V Hyundai Loyalty, one of six vessels deployed on this service that connects to key markets in Asia.

The new port rotation of the CIX is: BMCT, Mundra, Karachi, Port Kelang, Singapore, Hong Kong, Gwangyang, Busan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Shekou, Singapore, returning to BMCT. A total of 8,540 TEU were handled during the first call in 42 hours, reported Hellenic Shipping News.

During the onboard vessel ceremony to mark the occasion, PSA India's senior advisor captain Suresh Amirapu said: "With our capacity growing to reach 2.4 million TEU annually by April 2019 with the arrival of three more super post-panamax quay cranes, BMCT aims to provide HMM and its customers with unrivalled productivity, flexibility and growth opportunities."

BMCT general manager Mr Sivakumar said: "We will be working very closely with HMM and their customers to ensure the CIX service goes from strength to strength. We are especially looking to increase the share of rail-borne cargo given the advantages of rail over road for longer distances and BMCT's expansive railyard, train-handling capabilities and the upcoming completion of the dedicated freight corridor."

07 Jan, 2019 - NYK gains funding to build its first methanol-powered chemical tanker

NYK has lined up a "green loan" of JPY2 billion (US$18.068 million) from Taiyo Life Insurance Company to finance the building of the Japanese shipping line's first methanol-powered chemical tanker.

The company said it will "continue to take steps for the development and use of technology linked to environmental performance by proactively promoting green finance."

It highlighted that in its medium-term management plan, "Staying Ahead 2022 with Digitalisation and Green" announced in March, its goal is to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into "management strategies to contribute to the sustainable development of society and enrichment of the company's corporate value.

"In May NYK became the first company in the global shipping industry to issue labelled green bonds and they have been using to fund environment-friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueled vessels and other NYK projects.

"To support investment in environmental technology more from a finance viewpoint, NYK decided to enter into this green loan agreement with Taiyo Life Insurance Company," it said.

21 Dec, 2018 - Shanghai Pudong implements IATA's dangerous goods processing system

SHANGHAI Pudong International Airport Cargo Terminal Co Ltd (PACTL) has become the world's first air cargo facility to utilise for processing declarations the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Dangerous Goods (DG) AutoCheck.

DG AutoCheck enables the air freight sector to verify along the supply chain the compliance of the shippers' Declaration for Dangerous Goods against IATA's Dangerous Goods Regulations, reported London's Air Cargo News.

"The introduction of DG AutoCheck is expected to further improve PACTL's DG acceptance accuracy and reduce checking process time," said PACTL.

"As one of the busiest air cargo terminals in the world, PACTL advocates air transport security as paramount criterion in daily operation."

The terminal operator continued: "The DG AutoCheck supports functions of DGD online upload, checking the compliance of shipper's DGD, consignment package against latest IATA DGR.

The Autocheck tool enables electronic consignment data to be received directly. Optical character recognition technology also transforms a hardcopy of the DGD into electronic data. This data is then processed and verified automatically using the XML data version of the DGR.

DG AutoCheck also facilitates decisions to accept or reject a shipment during the physical inspection stage by providing a pictorial representation of the package with the marking and labelling required for air transport, IATA explained.

18 Dec, 2018 - NYK to manage new very large LNG tanker for Astomos Energy

A naming ceremony was held in Nagasaki at the Koyagi Shipyard of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding for a new very large gas carrier that NYK will charter under a long-term contract to Astomos Energy Corporation.

NYK will continue to expand its LPG fleet and strengthen its LPG transportation service, in addition to reinforcing the close relationship that NYK and Astomos have shared for so many years, said a company statement.

At the ceremony, the ship was named Laurel Prime by Seiya Araki, president of Astomos Energy Corporation, and the ceremonial rope holding the vessel in place was cut by Mr Araki's wife. Hitoshi Nagasawa, NYK representative director and executive vice-president corporate officer, attended together with others from the company.

NYK has traditionally given LPG carriers two-word names that begin with the letters "L" and "P" respectively. This ship was named Laurel Prime with the wish that it will represent superior achievement and honour, the meaning of the word, recognising that laurels have often been used to crown victors.

10 Dec, 2018 - Remote RTG operations enhance efficiency and safety, says HIT

REMOTE control operations of rubber-tyre gantry cranes (RTGC) have achieved noticeable results in terms of operational efficiency and safety since their introduction at Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) Terminal 9 North early this year, the company announced.

"The overall number of equipment accidents dropped 53 per cent, of which the number of accidents involving RTGC dropped 64 per cent compared to last year before the launch of remote operations. No injury case recorded for all equipment accidents," said HIT.

Remote operations are safe and reliable, said the company statement. Each crane is equipped with 58 monitoring cameras and sensors, which can assist the crane operator to handle the loading and unloading of containers from multiple angles and ensure full precision.

In addition, the engineering team carries out detailed inspection for each remote RTGC once every four weeks. With the implementation of a remote monitoring system, the engineers are also able to identify and fix the faults timely to ensure the safe operation of remote-controlled cranes, HIT said.

03 Dec, 2018 - NYK, Mitsubishi Logistics merge terminal operations in Japan

JAPAN's Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and Mitsubishi Logistics Corporation (MLC) have announced integration of the management of the four NYK Group terminal operations through a new joint holding company.

Thus, UNI-X Corporation (UNI-X) and Nippon Container Terminals (NCT) will be merged on December 17 into MY Terminals Holdings, headquartered at 3-2, Marunouchi 2 Chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, with NYK holding 51 per cent and MLC, 49 per cent.

The new firm will be under its new president, representative director Yoichiro Hara, said the joint statement.

27 Nov, 2018 - Europe gripped in fuel drought, Paris riots over CO2 taxes, soaring prices

PARIS has erupted in mass rioting over fuel shortages and new carbon taxes as Germany's industrial southwest and Switzerland faces lack of supply as freezing temperatures heightens demand.

Real Clear Markets also reports that global average temperatures fell 0.56C from February 2016 to February 2018, the biggest two-year drop in 100 years, according to US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) data.

Britain too is bracing for its coldest winter in eight years with temperatures falling to -5C in Inverness and -6.7C in Oxfordshire, reports the Daily Mail.

With little relief in sight, the German government is seeking to loosen rules on fuel transports by road to prevent shortages, reported Bloomberg.

"Some petrol stations are empty," said Herbert Rabl, a spokesman for Tankstellen-Interessenverband, an association representing German fuel station operators. "The problem is the logistics, and it is quite big."

Said a provincial Baden-Wuerttemberg spokesman: "It's not that the oil isn't there - it's a logistics problem."

In normal market conditions, upwards of 100,000 tons a week of diesel-like fuels flow up the Rhine from Rotterdam. Gasoline also moves in the opposite direction when the waterway is functioning without restrictions.

Because of the drought, water levels in the Rhine basin, which have been well-below average since July, will continue to fall or remain unchanged with little significant rainfall forecast in the next few days.

The situation in Switzerland, which relies on Europe's busiest waterway for two-thirds of its diesel and a quarter of its petrol, has become "tense," according to the nation's EV-UP oil federation.

"We're watching developments closely," said the federation's man in Zurich, David Suchet. "November is a pretty dry month, so we don't expect the situation to ease soon."

20 Nov, 2018 - Supply chain evolution requires data and intelligence sharing

WITH the pressures on supply chains mounting, it is more vital than ever for shippers, carriers and 3PLs to keep innovating. Companies must constantly adapt and evolve not only to gain competitive advantages but to survive.

A report by New York's FreightWaves highlighted that soaring warehousing costs have created incentives for shippers to trim inventories, making shipment visibility and velocity critical. Volatile trucking spot rates have raised the stakes of potential service failures - in recent quarters, 40 per cent of S&P 500 companies have said that freight costs are among the most substantial risks to their earnings.

"We believe that multi-partner collaboration will usher in the next wave of digital transformation in the supply chain space for several reasons. The first is that the supply chain's fragmentation has led to a proliferation of inefficient, error-prone manual communications processes, even for shipments moving relatively smoothly, and has caused disputes over exceptions to be prolonged and wasteful," the commentary said.

"The second reason is that customer service has become a differentiator for transportation and logistics providers: shippers and consignees put a greater premium on transparency and collaborative decision-making than ever before."

In FreightWaves' view, Slync's approach to cloud-based supply chain software perfectly positions the company to help its clients unlock the next step changes in digitisation, collaboration and operating efficiencies. Slync's products sit as a complementary layer on top of internal and legacy software like Excel, SAP, Oracle, and JDA, and serves as a platform for creating multi-partners views into data and insights.

"We took a different approach by integrating to and leveraging existing internal and legacy systems rather than replacing them," said Slync CEO Chris Kirchner. "Doing so enables Slync to fill missing gaps in multi-party visibility, apply predictive AI to find hidden data trends and take action through automated workflows."

Slync's software aggregates historical data and builds predictive analytics on top that multiple partners can see, to create a 'shared reality' that removes friction from collaborative decision-making and dispute resolution.

"Recent studies show predictive AI to grow to over 75 per cent adoption across supply chain companies within the next five years," said Slync chief product officer Raj Patel. "We have engineered a product that can help customers get started today."

Slync's capabilities will accelerate collaboration between supply chain partners, whether that's providing immutable temperature records for the biopharmaceutical cold chain or building artificially intelligent bots to help shippers identify the least efficient distribution centres in their networks. The company listens to its customers' pain points and then designs bespoke products that allow the customer and its partners to open up and leverage the data they already have.

Slync's approach to the market demonstrates the company's understanding that despite the rise of big data and the internet of things, productive relationships are still necessary to get things done and move freight through the supply chain.

By verifying the data on which collaboration is based, automating communication processes and sharing intelligent analytics with multiple parties, Slync removes friction and adds value to partner relationships.

13 Nov, 2018 - Trade war initial tariffs see US imports of Chinese goods slashed by 30pc

STATISTICS from Swiss multinational investment bank UBS show US imports of Chinese goods listed in the initial US$34 billion of tariffs have fallen by 30 per cent, adding that it's too early to calculate the effect on an additional $200 billion of tariffs implemented on September 24.

Although the research shows that President Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods are having a material effect on US-China trade, UBS says the decline has been "sharp and unambiguous".

"The modest uptick in September data, however, gives us hope that the adjustment period for these imports has now drawn to an end," UBS said.

It was a similar story for products in the second tranche of tariffs on an additional US$16 billion worth of goods, which was implemented on August 23.

US imports of those products fell by 32 per cent in August and September. However, the figure is overstated because imports of those items jumped in July.

"The fall relative to the May levels is a more modest but still large 20 per cent," UBS said.

The results from the first round of tariffs raise an obvious question: what will happen to imports on the $US200 billion of additional tariffs that were implemented on September 24.

Because of the more recent time frame, UBS said it's too early to calculate what the negative effects are.

The analysts noted that imports of the goods in those tranches "accelerated sharply" in the three months prior to implementation.

However, not all of that would can be attributed to customers stocking up before the tariffs came into effect. For one thing, imports were already picking up in July - before the third tranche was announced.

The three-month increase was driven by US imports of tech devices - largely circuit boards and disk drives.

Looking at the key tech products, UBS said it's difficult to conclude whether the increase was due to a pre-tariff surge, or merely an extension of the broader trend growth for those products seen in recent years, according to New York's Business Insider.

06 Nov, 2018 - Russia's exports grow 16.6pc, making near box recovery to pre-crisis levels

CONTAINER throughput of Russian seaports has almost recovered up to the pre-crisis level, reports Ports.Today of Malaga, Spain.

In January-September, Russian port volume was up 15 per cent year on year to 3.8 million TEU. In 2014, this figure was 3.99 million TEU, before the container volumes dropped 25.4 per cent in 2015, as a result of the economic sanctions.

According to the data of the Russian Sea Commercial Ports Association, both imports and exports demonstrate strong growth.

Imports increased 10.4 per cent to 1.6 million TEU and exports were up 11.2 per cent to 1.57 million TEU. But this growth was slower than last year's, a trend already evident. In first nine months 2017, imports had grown by 17.9 per cent while exports were up 16.2 per cent.

Notable was the 16.6 per cent rise in laden exports in January-September 2018 to 996,600 TEU. This is accounted for by a stable growth in container exports of such cargoes as paper, metal and wood industry products, chemicals, mineral and fertilisers.

The remaining part of the total container handling consists of local cabotage volumes, which showed also a strong growth of 15.5 per cent (578,000 TEU).

The slowdown in growth pace was noticeable in all Russian port regions. Baltic port volume was up 11.2 per cent, up to 1.86 million TEU, whereas in January-June 2018 the rise was 12.2-12.5 per cent.

This increase was attributed to growing full exports up 19.6 per cent to 647.900 TEU as imports rose 9.9 per cent to 935.600 TEU.

The Big Port of St Petersburg, the largest Russian container gateway, was up 12.2 per cent to 1.6 million TEU. Among the stevedoring companies here, Container Terminal St Petersburg has confirmed its #1 status; it alone handled one third of the port's volume an increase of 15.5 per cent to 550,320 TEU.

Other Baltic ports were not so active: Kaliningrad 119,400 TEU. Ust-Luga kept its volumes at 2017 levels at 56,800 TEU, its 440,000-TEU capacity being severely under-utilised.

The Far Eastern ports demonstrated the highest increase of all Russian ports rising 15.2 per cent to 1.25 million TEU.

Vladivostok, now the largest container port in the Russian Far East and #3 nationwide was up 10.8 per cent to 680,760 TEU. Its rival, Vostochny Port, increased the throughput by 15.8 per cent to 312,860 TEU.

At the Black Sea, the container traffic rose to 576,050 TEU, up seven per cent.

The Arctic facilities, which mostly handle cabotage containers, registered a growth of just 1.5 per cent, their throughput is 110.700 TEU.

The Caspian ports (Astrakhan) handled 1,582 TEU, which is 6.2 per cent less than in the same period last year.

31 Oct, 2018 - Cosco Shipping Ports profits soar 33.5pc, but trade war blights future

COSCO Shipping Ports, a front-running world port operator, posted a 33.5 per cent increase in third quarter net profit to US$75.8 million, drawn on revenues of $253 million, which increased 62.6 per cent year on year.

In the first nine months, the company, formerly known Cosco Pacific, posted a 46.6 per cent year-to-date a profit increase to $244.1 million, drawn on revenues of $748.4 million, a year-on-year increase of 73.5 per cent.

"As the last quarter is a low season for port operators. Growth in throughput volume should see a slowdown," said the company outlook.

"Looking ahead, trades are expected to see the negative impacts from the Sino-US trade tension. Export expansion in China is likely to taper off when foreign trades are expected to have bigger impact by the trade war," it said.

Year-to-date total throughput increased 20.6 per cent to 87,518,295 TEU. Due to slowdown in throughput growth of the group’s non-controlling terminal companies, for the third quarter ended 30 September 2018, the group’s total throughput increased by 11.1 per cent to 30,811,695 TEU.

For the three months ended 30 September 2018, throughput from the group’s subsidiaries increased by 33 per cent to 5,793,569 TEU, accounting for 18.8 per cent of the group’s total throughput. Throughput from the group’s non-controlling terminals rose by seven per cent to 25,018,126 TEU, accounting for 81.2 per cent of the group’s total throughput.

Quarterly throughput of the Greater China region increased 5.9 per cent to 24,408,026 TEU, accounting for 79.2 per cent of the group’s total volume. Year-to-date, Greater China volume was up 16.9 per cent to 68,965,288 TEU.

Throughput of the Bohai Rim region increased 14.5 per cent to 10,187,107 TEU in the third quarter, accounting for 33.1 per cent of the total, with Dalian operations increasing 49.5 per cent to 2,755,434 TEU.

Throughput of the Yangtze River Delta accounted for 16.6 per cent of the group’s total and amounted to 5,113,222 TEU for the for the quarter, an increase of three per cent year on year. Benefiting from adjustment in shipping routes, throughput of Ningbo Yuan Dong Terminals Limited rose 4.9 per cent to 770,617 TEU.

Throughput of Shanghai Pudong International Container Terminals Limited increased by 0.8 per cent to 683,400. Throughput of Shanghai Mingdong Container Terminals Limited decreased by 0.8 per cent to 1,618,140 TEU.

Throughput of the Southeast Coast region accounted for 4.7 per cent of the group’s total, increased by 7.1 per cent to 1,446,469 TEU for the quarter. Driven by the increased calls by the OCEAN Alliance, throughput of Xiamen Ocean Gate Container Terminal increased 14.6 per cent to 475,489 TEU.

Affected by typhoon in September, throughput of the Pearl River Delta region decreased by 2.1 per cent to 7,320,160 TEU for the quarter, accounting for 23.8 per cent of the total throughput. Throughput of Guangzhou South China Oceangate Container Terminal Company Limited (“Guangzhou South China Oceangate Container Terminal? increased five per cent to 1,378,788 TEU .

Throughput of the Southwest Coast region accounted for 1.1 per cent of the total, decreased by 6.8 per cent to 341,068 TEU.

The total throughput of overseas terminals increased by 36.6 per cent to 6,403,669 TEU for the quarter and accounted for 20.7 per cent of the group’s total.

Throughput of the NPH group was 943,972 TEU. Fueled by increased calls by the OCEAN Alliance, throughput of Piraeus Container Terminal in Greece increased 22.6 per cent to 1,165,918 TEU. With a new berth added, throughput of Cosco-PSA Terminal Private Limited surged 54.6 per cent to 788,337 TEU

22 Oct, 2018 - Trade war makes life hard for China's machine, electronics exporters

THE Sino-American trade war is making life hard for Chinese exporters of machinery, electronics and bathroom fixtures, a vast market that makes up half of China's annual exports to the United States, Caixin reports.

US tariffs currently cover around US$250 billion worth of Chinese exports and that includes two-thirds of mechanical and electronic products, according to a recent report by the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products.

The tariffs will affect 10 per cent of China's overall machinery and electronics exports. China exported $1.06 trillion of such products during the first nine months of the year.

A senior figure at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told Caixin that companies may have to try to circumvent US tariffs, at least in the short term, in order to remain competitive.

"In the short term, it might be a good practice for the electromechanical industry to find a cooperative company abroad or re-export through Hong Kong or Singapore," the researcher said.

"The firms could also consider finding ways to manufacture similar products which use the same technology, but that are not on the tariff lists."

15 Oct, 2018 - China's Uni-top Airlines gears up to launch Kunming to Dubai cargo service

CHINA's carrier Uni-top Airlines plans to commence thrice weekly Boeing 747 freighter service between Kunming and Dubai to boost civil aviation and trade ties between China and United Arab Emirates.

The announcement was made by Uni-top Airlines vice president Yang Fan in a speech at the UAE Air Transport Cooperation Promotion Conference organised by the Yunnan Provincial Development and Reform Commission.

The event was held at Kempinski Hotel Mall of Emirates Dubai and attended by a Chinese delegation of provincial officials and airline representatives, TradeArabia News Service reported.

Leader of the Chinese delegation Yunnan Provincial Civil Aviation Development Administration director general Zhang Changsheng said: "Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the UAE in July and the leaders of the two countries unanimously decided to upgrade bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

"We expect to strengthen joint marketing promotion for airline flights, tourism market and especially air cargo market in order to push the development of bilateral economy and trade, and we also expect to promote abundant green agricultural products with Yunnan plateau characteristics to the UAE for sharing."

Said Dubai Airports director Khalil Lamrabet: "Strengthening the tourism, trade and commercial links between China and Dubai is a key strategy for Dubai Airports.

"We are honoured and excited to welcome Uni-top Airline's new service from Kunming in China's Yunnan province to Dubai World Central. DWC, which is already in the top 25 airports worldwide for international trade volumes, is ideally suited for this service with state-of-the-art facilities and a dedicated bonded link to Jebel Ali port."

It is planned that by 2030 there will be 500 air routes including 200 international and regional routes serving 1.78 million tons of cargo and 120 million passengers at Kunming Changshui international airport.

08 Oct, 2018 - Trade-reliant Singapore fears global collapse if trade war prolonged

A BROADLY based loss of confidence in international markets is in the offing if the Sino-US trade war becomes prolonged, warns Singapore Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing.

A collapse could return the global economy to "where we were 100 years ago, near the Great Depression era when everybody thought that it was better for them to close their borders and work in isolation," he said.

That kind of scenario is a "great risk for the entire world," he told Bloomberg.

That would have "a huge impact" and slow economic activity, said Mr Chan, one of several men seen as a leading candidate to become the next prime minister.

"In the medium term, some countries benefit and some countries lose," Mr Chan said. "What is more worrying for everyone is that the entire global economy loses confidence."

It's still early days and that worst-case scenario hasn't materialised yet, the minister said. But it's a worry for a small, open economy like Singapore's, where exports amount most of GDP.

Singapore has found itself in the crossfire as its No 1 and No 4 trading partners duel with tariffs, and where exports amounted to most of GDP in the city state.

"If that coincides with a global downturn, then I think we will be in for a rough ride," he said.

Mr Chan said Singapore's economic fundamentals are "still alright" and fluctuations in the data can be expected.

"The PMI will go up and down," he said. "There are some cyclical factors. The concern is the longer-term structural shifts."

For now, the economy is still growing solidly, with economists in a Bloomberg survey forecasting expansion of about 3.2 per cent this year, compared with 3.6 per cent in 2017.

Singapore's warning comes as the world's financial elite prepare to gather in the Indonesian island of Bali for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund's annual fall meeting.

Global trade risks will likely dominate talks, with IMF head Christine Lagarde already signalling she's not as optimistic of the fund's 3.9 per cent global growth forecast for this year and next.

Said Mr Chan: "We need to work with like-minded partners to uphold the global trading system, to continue to have the free-trade agreements either bilaterally or multilaterally, to make sure that the global trading system remains open, free, and rules-based."

26 Sep, 2018 - World's largest ship propeller heading for MSC vessel in S Korea

HAMBURGER Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) has successfully loaded a 110-tonne ship propeller that required the "HHLA IV" floating crane to move what is effectively the world's biggest propeller onto its transport platform and then bring it to the berth of the "Hyundai Supreme" containership at the port of Waltershof.

The journey for the giant propeller started from its production facility in Waren an der Muritz in Mecklenburg-western Pomerania and transported by road to Hamburg where it was temporarily stored at Hachmannkai quay close to the HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort until it was ready for loading.

The jib of the floating crane raised the propeller from the transport platform and carefully lifted it over the towering side of the 300-metre-long containership. It was a delicate operation that involved lowering the heavy load centimetre by centimetre into the hold of the ship, reported Hellenic Shipping News.

The "Hyundai Supreme", a 5,000-TEU box ship, then departed from the port of Hamburg headed for the Far East. The propeller on board is destined for the South Korean port of Busan. From there, it will be transported on to the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering shipyard, where the first of eleven 23,000-TEU container ships are being built for MSC.

10 Sep, 2018 - New container rail freight links Marseilles, Le Havre and Lausanne

A NEW rail shuttle connecting the French container ports of Marseilles Fos and Le Havre with Lausanne has commenced operations as part of a joint initiative with intermodal operator Naviland Cargo. Each train will offer capacity of up to 42 TEU.

The France Helvetia Express service that makes three round trips per week will operate between Dijon Gevrey in mid-France - where rail shuttles serving each port will connect - and the Chavornay combined transport terminal near Lausanne, in Switzerland's French-speaking region, reported the American Journal of Transportation.

Only a fraction of the estimated potential Swiss containerised rail freight traffic of 350,000 to 400,000 TEU per year is currently handled by the French ports. Reduced transit times are expected to play a major role in winning greater market share, particularly for Mediterranean-routed trades via Marseille Fos and North/South America traffic through Le Havre.

The initiative is in line with the French government's policy to extend the port hinterlands into the heart of Europe through the development of eco-friendly combined transport services. The France Helvetia shuttle will provide annual capacity equivalent to 12,000 trucks.

Marseille Fos already offers 200 container shuttle options per week throughout France and also in northern Europe, notably through "fresh food corridors" with Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Hamburg and Lubeck.

04 Sep, 2018 - China Logistics Property soars 88.5pc to US$29.1 million, sales up 65.2pc

HONG KONG warehouse provider China Logistics Property Holdings (CNLP) posted an 88.5 per cent year-on-year first half profit increase to CNY199.3 million (US$29.1 million), drawn on revenues of CNY274.3 million, up 65.2 per cent.

In August, CNLP and LaSalle Investment Management Asia entered into an agreement to invest up to US$300 million in operating logistics warehousing projects in China.

The company has also granted certain pre-emptive rights to LaSalle in relation to certain of its existing logistics assets and developments.

Driven by increasing demand from tenants in e-commerce and third-party logistics providers, major logistics market demand has been strong, said CNLP.

The group benefited from growing demand for logistics services, driving the steady growth in rental prices. As of June 30, the company held 138 logistics facilities in 29 logistics parks in 14 provinces or centrally administered municipalities.

The group has 3.5 million square metres of gross floor area (GFA) in logistics parks under construction and operation and 3.6 million square metres of GFA of land reserve.

Said CNLP chairman and president Li Shifa: "In the second half of 2018, we will accelerate tenancy occupation cycle, optimise our tenant portfolio, diversify sources of capital and lower costs of capital.

"Going forward, we will continue to work towards our vision - developing into the largest provider of premium logistics facilities in China and maintaining our leading position," Mr Li said.

31 Aug , 2018 - Maersk uses CargoSphere's platform to automatically notify customers of rates

DENMARK's Maersk Line had adopted CargoSphere's online platform to fully automate the distribution of its contract rates and amendments.

Through the deployment of CargoSphere's electronic Smart Upload and Diagnostics Solution (eSUDS) and CargoSphere Rate Mesh, the carrier is able to digitally send out its rates to shippers, freight forwarders and non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVOCC) customers, reported American Shipper.

Benefits for customers include time and cost savings, improved data accuracy, online access to timely rates, faster reconciliation of invoices and quicker quoting to customers for freight forwarders and NVOCCs, CargoSphere said.

"This move is part of the Maersk Line digital transformation and helps us to offer advanced, industry-leading digital solutions that improve the customer experience," said the carrier's global head of e-commerce Carsten Frank Olsen. "Our customers require a faster and simpler way to manage freight rates and CargoSphere is delivering the advanced technology to achieve this."

20 Aug , 2018 - South Korea seeks to form railway community like coal deal that set up EU

SOUTH Korean President Moon Jae-in has proposed an "East Asian Railroad Community" that includes the US and North Korea, comparing it to the alliance that set up a coal and steel community that led to the European Union.

President Moon, who plans to visit Pyongyang next month for his third summit this year with Kim Jong Un, said that the new economic community would connect his country's railways to those of other northeast Asian nations, reported Bloomberg.

"The community will expand the horizon of the Korean economy to the northern part of the continent and become the main artery of mutual prosperity in Northeast Asia," Mr Moon said, adding that the group could lead to similar energy and economic groupings. "It will initiate a Northeast Asian multilateral peace and security system."

President Moon has championed efforts to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula since taking office last year, and played a crucial role in bringing President Kim and US President Donald Trump together for their historic first summit in June. Since then, little progress has been made in getting North Korea to commit to a specific timetable to give up its nuclear weapons.

Kim's regime has advocated a phased approach in which the US would grant North Korea a peace deal and other security guarantees in concert with its own disarmament steps.

13 Aug , 2018 - Singapore settles on Wilhelmsen as a maritime partner for drone delivery

WILHELMSEN Ships Service (WSS) has been selected to help develop the future Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulatory framework for Singapore and will receive dedicated funding for their shore-to-ship delivery project, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has announced.

CAAS made the announcement at its recent Aviation Community Reception at which it transpired that WSS was one of only four companies to have received the funding, following a Call-For-Proposal (CFP) by CAAS and the Ministry of Transport.

The CFP aims to support the development of systems and technologies to enable innovations within the wide-ranging use of UAS. The maximum funding available for each project is S$1.5 million (US$1.09 million), or up to 50 per cent of the total project qualified costs.

Outlining the potential development of UAS for shore-to-ship deliveries, the winning proposal from Wilhelmsen Ships Service highlighted how UAS delivery could improve safety, productivity and efficiency.

With a quicker response rate and turnaround time compared to traditional launch boat deliveries, Wilhelmsen believes delivery by UAS has the potential to lower shore-to- ship delivery costs by up to 90 per cent , as well as removing the safety risks inherent with delivery via launch boat.

06 Aug , 2018 - Singapore's PSA acquires majority stake in Canadian shipping terminal

SINGAPORE's port terminal operator, PSA International Pte Ltd, is expanding its global footprint after inking an agreement to acquire 60 per cent of Ashcroft Terminal, a 320-acre transload and storage terminal in British Columbia, Canada, located 300 kilometres from the port of Vancouver.

PSA said a Canadian subsidiary will purchase the majority stake in the privately owned inland port facility that is served by both Canadian National (CN) Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway. These class 1 railroad lines transport import and export cargo to and from the port of Vancouver, across Canada and as far as Chicago and other North American markets.

PSA group CEO Tan Chong Meng said: "Ashcroft Terminal is PSA's first foray into Canada and offers us an entry point into the hinterland supply chain for the North American market, as well as an opportunity to increase our capabilities in intermodal and inland container depot (ICD) operations.

"The terminal's strategic location allows us to establish a common user ICD and provide greater options to cargo owners and consignees. We will partner with shipping lines, rail operators and trucking companies to implement a more robust, efficient and cost-effective supply chain solution to serve the needs of major exporters in western Canada."

Ashcroft currently services natural resource industries, including agriculture, mining, forestry and oil and gas by providing transloading, fleet management, railcar storage and logistics solutions, reported American Shipper.

Ashcroft plans to invest CAD28 million (US$21.4 million) to strengthen its inland port and container handling capabilities and the terminal is slated to receive a new rail link to the CN main line, additional rail track of existing infrastructure, an internal road system and a multi-commodity storage facility.

It said: "Transport Canada, through the National Trade Corridors Fund, will provide a grant of up to CAD9.2 million representing one-third of the cost of the project."

30 Jul, 2018 - Nigeria bans Maersk and Cosco, but its impact is clouded in confusion

THE Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has forbidden Maersk and Cosco to operate, alleging that the chaotic congestion at Lagos is caused by carriers' refusal to comply with an NPA directive to open off-dock yards for empties, and not by the intermittent truck strikes, the shipping lines say are responsible.

Yet the situation is unclear, as there are reports that NPA has rescinded its Maersk-Cosco ban, or that officials on the ground are not enforcing it as protests rise from all quarters as congestion mounts, reports the Nigeria Guardian.

The NPA had suspended local operations of Maersk, Cosco Shipping, APS and Lansal at the Port of Lagos from July 14 saying the lines had failed to comply with a directive to provide holding bays for their empties, reports Colchester's Seatrade Maritime News.

Maersk Nigeria said it had fully complied. "It is misguiding for NPA to suspend Maersk Nigeria for failing to acquire and operate holding bays for empty containers, as Maersk operates four holding bays within the Lagos environ with a storage capacity of 8,150 TEU," reported the Nigeria Guardian.

Cosco Shipping stated that it had complied with all local regulations. "We have always kept in close communication with local authorities. Contact with local authorities has confirmed that all of our vessels calling Nigerian ports are operating as scheduled," the Chinese company said.

"Cocso Shipping Lines has encountered low terminal operation efficiency due to truck driver strikes. We are paying close attention to the progress of these strikes and will issue relevant notifications for any necessary updates," said Cosco.

23 Jul, 2018 - CMA CGM takes 10pc stake in CSP Zeebrugge Terminal from Cosco

FRENCH shipping giant CMA CGM has announced the acquisition from China Shipping Ports Development (Cosco Shipping Ports) of 10 per cent in CSP Zeebrugge Terminal through its wholly-owned subsidiary CMA Terminals.

CMA CGM is currently the major client of CSP Zeebrugge and accounted for one third of the total throughput of the terminal in 2017. "The strategic partnership between CMA CGM and Cosco Shipping Ports should foster the development of CSP Zeebrugge into a major hub port in Northwest Europe," said the CMA CGM statement.

Cosco Shipping Ports completed the acquisition of the remaining 76 per cent equity interest in CSP Zeebrugge terminal in November 2017 and made it a wholly-owned subsidiary.

The Port of Zeebrugge enjoys a strategic geographic position in Europe and is a transportation hub for traffic everywhere in the world, CMA CGM said.

Zeebrugge is connected to other European countries through road and rail connections, offering the CMA CGM customers many opportunities, the company said.

Said CMA CGM executive officer Farid Salem: "This investment is in line with the group's global strategy and will strengthen CMA CGM's position in the deep-sea container trades."

16 Jul, 2018 - US envoy: WTO no place to settle trade dispute with China

US ambassador Dennis Shea told a World Trade Organisation meeting that China's unfair trade policies are too big for the WTO to handle.

Washington is threatening 10 per cent tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods. In response, Beijing accused the United States of bullying and said it would complain to the WTO, reported Reuters.

"Given China's very large and growing role in international trade, and the serious harm that China's state-led, mercantilist approach to trade and investment causes to China's trading partners, this reckoning can no longer be put off," said Mr Shea.

"It is clear, moreover, that the WTO currently does not offer all of the tools necessary to remedy this situation," Mr Shea told the two-yearly WTO review of China's trade policies.

Under President Donald Trump, the US has called for that the WTO's dispute system to be changed to prevent the United States from receiving what he regards as an "unfair deal".

To back up his demands, Mr Trump has blocked appointments to the WTO's appeals chamber to replace judges as their terms expire. Unless he relents, the world's trade dispute system will be unable to operate by the end of 2019 or sooner.

Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen defended China's record at the meeting and acknowledged the severe challenges facing the WTO, according to a Geneva trade official.

Speaking before Mr Shea, he called on all WTO members to stand up to bullying, protectionism and unilateralism, and urged them to tackle the systemic threats posed by Mr Trump's tariffs on steel, aluminum and cars, as well as his tariffs directed solely at China.

Mr Shea said the Chinese state's role in the economy had increased. He said foreign firms doing business in China or competing with Chinese rivals faced deeper and broader obstacles, and added that Beijing was providing "massive, market-distorting subsidies" and "skewing the playing field... in a myriad of ways."

The WTO's dispute system focused narrowly on specific policies and could not deal with a broader situation where state-led policies prevailed over market forces. New WTO rules were unlikely to be negotiated to deal with the situation and would in any case take too long.

09 Jul, 2018 - HMM launches 11,000-TEUer - biggest ship with scrubber

HYUNDAI Merchant Marine (HMM), Korea's largest shipping firm, has launched the 11,000-TEU HMM Promise at a ceremony in Busan, the biggest ship with a SOx scrubber, reports Seoul's Pulse.

The scrubber system was retrofitted to the ship after it was delivered to HMM last August from Subic-based Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction in the Philippines.

The move was made to comply with global environment protection standards that take effect on January 1, 2020.

"The HMM Promise is the world's first commercially operating ship of more than 11,000 TEU equipped with a large scrubber," said an HMM official.

The ship also represents the first large containership delivered to HMM after its ownership was shifted into the hands of state-run Korea Development Bank in August 2016.

HMM's containership capacity is now about 410,000 TEU, one-tenth of the world`s largest container shipping company, Maersk Line.

The HMM Promise will serve east coast South America, while the HMM Blessing, its twin from the same shipyard, will serve the west coast of South America, when it is launched this week.

03 Jul, 2018 - Cosco-OOCL deal gets green light from Chinese antitrust agency

COSCO Shipping Holdings announced that antitrust authorities in China have agreed to allow its acquisition of the parent company of Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) to move forward, which will make the combined companies the world's third-largest container carrier.

Cosco's partner in the acquisition is a subsidiary of Shanghai International Port Group, which will take a 9.9 per cent stake in OOCL's parent, Orient Overseas International Ltd (OOIL).

In a brief announcement submitted to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last Friday, Cosco said China's Anti-Monopoly Bureau of the State Administration for Market Regulation had chosen not to prohibit its offer for OOIL. The decision by Chinese officials came one day before the June 30 deadline set forth in the original announcement of the proposed acquisition.

Previously the companies said they had received approval from European and US competition authorities, and it was unclear why Chinese officials had waited till the 11th hour to make their ruling.

Their approval was one of the preconditions the companies said had to be met before the deal could move forward when it was announced nearly a year ago on July 7, 2017. When announced, the deal was valued at about HKD49.2 billion (US $6.3 billion).

Friday's announcement said a "composite document" giving the full terms and details of the offer will be issued within seven days.

The announcement was silent on the future of OOIL's Long Beach Container Terminal, one of the most automated container terminals in the United States. The acquisition of the terminal is reportedly being reviewed by the US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

A report in the Wall Street Journal had earlier said Cosco has offered to put the terminal into a "US-run trust to allay US national security concerns about Chinese ownership of the facility."

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